It’s been my first year natural and I’ve had to come to terms with accepting my shrinkage and all that. A lot of people tell me, ‘oh, you look better with a perm,’ or ‘I like when your hair is relaxed.’ Especially with this haircut, I’ve had a lot of people go, ‘oh you look like a dude now,’ or ‘you look gay.’
Something that I went through at like 8-years-old, I remember putting lotion on my skin before I went to sleep and praying to be a white girl, which was kind of a tough thing for me because I was always taught if you speak like a white person or you cater to what they like, you’ll be accepted by them. Having to sit myself down at 8 and be like, ‘look, you’re black. You don’t do this [shakes hair back and forth], and you have to understand that you’re always going to be black and being unapologetically yourself is good for you. I remember waking up that morning like, ‘oh, I’m not white. This is my skin.’ Then I remember reading a book about melanin and all that and just thinking about all the things that I was taught in class and reminding myself that God made me this way so I’m always going to be this way and I have to either accept it and be the best that I can be, or be Stacey Dash number 2.
I’m starting to live my dreams which is the good part. I want to become a singer/songwriter, but I also want to dance and be involved in criminal law or entertainment law.
Kaya Mahlomokulu, 22, Brooklyn, IG: kidsiskaya